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E-Commerce

Internet Grocery Shopping Meets the Sharing Economy

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(Image via Shutterstock)

San Francisco-based startup Instacart is hoping to trump services like AmazonFresh, Peapod, and FreshDirect in the battle to deliver fresh food to your door. But unlike those bigger players, Instacart uses the tactics of the maturing sharing economy. The online grocery startup aims to deliver the same experience we now expect from sharing-economy darlings like Uber and Airbnb. After a user submits a list of foods through the Instacart app, a “personal shopper” handpicks the selected foods in a grocery store. However, unlike Uber and AirBnB, Instacart does not face regulatory pressure because the nature of its business does not expose the user to much risk. Without the need to house inventory in a large warehouse or operate shipping trucks, Instacart is also able to lower overhead while providing a seamless experience. Still, the ambitious startup’s success is not a fait accompli. Instacart may face competition from drones, and has yet to fully resolve issues around compensation and job security for its workforce.

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